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Top NASA administrator and Helena native Dava Newman talks about - KRTV News in Great Falls, Montana

Top NASA administrator and Helena native Dava Newman talks about Montana, Mars, and spacesuits

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Dr. Dava Newman, a graduate of Capital High School in Helena, was confirmed in April 2015 by the U.S. Senate to be the new deputy administrator of the National Aeronautics & Space Administration. (MTN News photo) Dr. Dava Newman, a graduate of Capital High School in Helena, was confirmed in April 2015 by the U.S. Senate to be the new deputy administrator of the National Aeronautics & Space Administration. (MTN News photo)
One of Newman's areas of expertise is developing advanced spacesuits for exploration. One of Newman's areas of expertise is developing advanced spacesuits for exploration.

Dr. Dava Newman, a graduate of Capital High School in Helena, was confirmed in April 2015 by the U.S. Senate to be the new deputy administrator of the National Aeronautics & Space Administration. 

Newman has a bachelor's degree from Notre Dame. She also earned master's degree and Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she is currently a professor of Aeronautics, Astronautics and Engineering Systems. 

Newman talked to MTN News on Thursday about her success at NASA, and also about inspiring the next generation of Montanans to pursue their dreams.

"Just dream big, that's the advice that I would give Montana youth," said Newman. "It's a great place to grow up, and whatever goal and passion they have, hopefully they want to come join NASA and work with us on the journey to Mars. That's our future. Really, I can't think of a more inspiring place to grow up than Montana."

Newman noted, "It's critically important that women, boys, and everyone, we need everyone in the fields, especially science, math, engineering, arts. It helps American competitiveness, ingenuity, and innovation."

One of Newman's areas of expertise is developing advanced spacesuits for exploration.

"We need to empower the Martian explorers, that's what you're doing when you get to Mars, you're exploring, and its a pretty extreme environment," said Newman. "You need great mobility to bend down, go into lava tubes, climb up mountains. We are there to search for the evidence of past life, so you think of them (astronauts) as an Olympic athlete."

Newman also addressed a group of young scientists from Rocky Mountain College who were hoping to observe algae growing in space. Unfortunately, shortly after take off, the space craft carrying the experiment exploded. 

Newman's message to the students; do not be discouraged.

"I would just like to encourage them, acknowledge them for the great research that they sent up on the last launch, keep going, keep investigating." said Newman.

During her confirmation hearing in the U.S. Senate, Newman received high praise.

"She developed a new space suit, known as the bio-suit to increase astronauts' agility and movements, allowing for astronauts to not only walk but also run and even climb mountains," said U.S. Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) while speaking about Newman on the Senate floor. 

Daines says Newman is a great example for Montana youth seeking careers in space and engineering. 

U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) said all Montanans can be proud of Newman's accomplishments. 

“Dava Newman will be a strong leader at NASA and play a major role in the future of engineering in this country,” said Tester. “I thank her for her many years in the classroom inspiring young folks to launch a career in STEM.” 

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